Monthly Archives: May 2015

Friday Linkage

There is no vocation to married life [Edinburgh Housewife]

The Loneliness of Adult Women [Edinburgh Housewife]

Is Female Purity Bulls***? [Bad Catholic]

Future Phobic [Second Terrace]

Better questions than “What do you do? [Mrs Metaphor]

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Sara Maitland on spinsters

In the Middle Ages the word “spinster” was a compliment. A spinster was someone, usually a woman, who could spin well: a woman who could spin well was financially self-sufficient — it was one of the very few ways that mediaeval women could achieve economic independence. The word was generously applied to all women at the point of marriage as a way of saying they came into the relationship freely, from personal choice, not financial desperation. Now it is an insult, because we fear “for” such women — and now men as well — who are probably “sociopaths.”

-Sara Maitland


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Linkage: Love & Marriage Edition

Love Isn’t Just About Making Him Happy [Verily]

Marriage as a Lifetime of Suffering [Glory2GodForAllThings]

They do: The scholarly about-face on marriage [Boston Globe]

Share Fondness And Admiration [Gottman]

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Ursula K. Le Guin on beauty

I think of when I was in high school in the 1940s: the white girls got their hair crinkled up by chemicals and heat so it would curl, and the black girls got their hair mashed flat by chemicals and heat so it wouldn’t curl. Home perms hadn’t been invented yet, and a lot of kids couldn’t afford these expensive treatments, so they were wretched because they couldn’t follow the rules, the rules of beauty.

Beauty always has rules. It’s a game. I resent the beauty game when I see it controlled by people who grab fortunes from it and don’t care who they hurt. I hate it when I see it making people so self-dissatisfied that they starve and deform and poison themselves. Most of the time I just play the game myself in a very small way, buying a new lipstick, feeling happy about a pretty new silk shirt.

One rule of the game, in most times and places, is that it’s the young who are beautiful. The beauty ideal is always a youthful one. This is partly simple realism. The young are beautiful. The whole lot of ’em. The older I get, the more clearly I see that and enjoy it. […]

And yet I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting, don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and more clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies.

– Ursula K. Le Guin


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The Bachelorette

It’s still wedding season among the Orthogals’ social circle. Among other things, this means bridal showers and bachelorette parties.

The Orthogals have differing tastes ranging between coffee with friends up to salsa dancing or rock climbing. Still, we find the best bachelorette gatherings have the following characteristics: low-key, anchored by a few fun activities, guest list made up of bride’s closest girlfriends and family members from her past and present, and food and drinks that are thoughtful and not overly complicated.

Even with our differences, the one things we completely agree on is that suggestive games and decorations hinder fun rather than help. Expanding the bride-to-be’s trousseau is much different than phallic shaped name tags, favors, mints, etc. There are ways to have fun, have a few giggles, and leave the whatchamacallits at the adult store.

So, if you have been invited to or need to host a shower or bachelorette, we have a few starter ideas to do as your girlfriend begins a new chapter.


Find out a favorite treat or food of the bride (ribs? cream puffs? cucumber sandwiches?) Get that, a fruit tray, a veggie tray.

Or get a selection of desserts (i.e. at least one without chocolate) and have a hot tea, coffee, and hot chocolate bar with fancy things to stir in.

In summer, go for smoothies, ice cream (homemade, if that’s a thing for the bride), and swanky lemonades. Cold beer or frozen ‘ritas are also options.

You don’t have to go all out, and there is so much more than cake to serve.

Common themes for bridal showers:

Kitchen showers (for the bride who likes to cook or bake)

Time of day shower

Room of the house shower (both ways to have a variety of gifts and a little fun on the side!)


Painting or pottery with wine

(Laura attended one shower where everyone was asked to paint a dinner plate that would be given to the bride after kiln-firing; really fun way to socialize and bless the bride with our artwork and creativity for years to come!)

Horseback riding and a picnic

Wine trail with live concert

Board games or poker night

Fancy tea party with a famous-recipe dessert potluck

Rock climbing, kayaking, archery, etc.

Have a bonfire in the backyard, or rent a cabin together in a state park

Karaoke night

Go to a spa or have a spa-themed shower


• Have guests address their own envelopes for a thank you. Ask people to update their addresses on a separate card or have them write their address in a book that you will give as a gift to the bride.

• Throw your own shower (speaking to the bride here). Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, and friends should host; the bride can give her input for activities and provide addresses for invites.

• Invite people to a shower/the bachelorette if they aren’t invited to the wedding.

• Invite the same person to more than one shower. It’s okay if a work friend throws one shower and a bridesmaid throws another, but if you invite the same people to both it can read like a plea for extra gifts.


How To Plan A Laid-Back Bridal Shower

Chicago bridal shower

Martha Stewart guide

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Friday Linkage

You and Me Forever [Vimeo]

Wants vs Likes [Art of Manliness]

Can you learn life lessons from monks and nuns? [Guardian]

Dream or Sacrifice? [Second Terrace]

5 tips for ladies who prefer him to take the lead [Verily]


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Stop Being So Positive [Harvard Business Review]
And how to think instead, in order to feel better and get results in a (scientifically-proven) way.

Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: Questions to Ask Before Giving Up [Eponis]
A very useful list.

Dating Non-Orthodox Christians [Pravmir]
“A good marriage can never be based on how the other makes me feel. Good marriage is based on my caring for and loving the other, even when it doesn’t always feel good to me.”

God is Always With You [Wonder.OCA]
Memory eternal, Fr. Roman Braga.

11 Empowering Portraits of Women on Their First Day as Mothers [Buzzfeed]
Happy Mother’s Day!


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Curiosity has self-interest that requires something of me. Something I have to attend to, like a puzzle to solve. It can be exhausting.

Wonder only asks that I open myself up to it. It speaks to my imagination and I get to participate in it. I don’t have to control it. That letting go seems like a better posture to embrace the day with. Going to try that today.

-David Carlson

Categories: Words of wisdom | 1 Comment

The young person’s guide to getting more involved in your parish

IMG_20150410_092326When I moved to Chicago, joining a parish community was a top priority. After a bit of church hopping I finally settled on a parish with lots of young people and services in English.

My involvement with parish life started even before I set foot in the church; I saw via the website that they sent volunteers to a soup kitchen, and I emailed the priest to ask if I could help out. Eventually I joined the church, and I gradually I started volunteering for other things. I became a greeter (which helped me quickly figure out who was who in the parish), I learned to bake prosfora, and I joined the temple-cleaning rotation (which at my parish just about everyone is on).

In “Your Own Personal Jesus“, Fr. Andrew Damick says:

If there is a weakness that the Orthodox have, it is not that we do not believe in the Church. Yes, we believe in the Church. Our weakness is that so many of us do not own this faith for ourselves. When you really own something and take personal responsibility for it, it takes over your life. It defines everything you are, everything you do. Everything gets rearranged around it.

Of course the purpose of church is to provide sacraments for its members, so please do show up and participate! Churches also provide opportunities for fellowship, function as a charitable organization, and can be repositories for ethnic traditions and memories.

You can start having a sense of ownership in your parish by coming regularly to services and participating in activities and events. Getting more involved in your parish is a great way to volunteer your time and talents and to get to know the people in your community better. Personally, getting involved in my parish helped give me a sense of community, built friendships, and gave me a “spiritual home” when I moved to a city where I had few contacts.

Taking ownership of my participation in parish life meant that I felt more comfortable at my new parish more quickly than if I had just sat in the sidelines, waiting for community to happen to me. (Let’s face it, coffee hour is often an exercise in awkwardness, rather than a great place to make new friends.)

Here are some ways to contribute to your parish:

  • Show up for more services than you normally do. Come on time.
  • Help decorate the temple for feasts
  • Sing in the choir
  • Be a greeter
  • Bake prosfora or run a prosfora-baking workshop
  • Coordinate social outings
  • Participate in or coordinate a volunteer activity
  • Serve on parish council
  • Tithe
  • Help with your parish’s festival
  • Be a Sunday school teacher
  • Put on a fundraiser for a project
  • Bring food to be distributed to the homeless
  • Help clean the temple
  • Host coffee hour
  • Invite a friend to church
  • Set up and manage ministries in areas there are gaps (cleaning/prosfora rotations, making meals for new moms or sick parishioners, etc.)
  • Be trained and serve as a altar server, reader, or sacristan.


  • Burnout. It has happened to me. When I start to feel cranky and resentful about a certain ministry I’m involved in, I take a break.
  • Don’t be a Martha. If I’m worrying about whether the soup will be hot enough to serve at coffee hour instead of focusing on the liturgy, I’m missing the point of being active in a parish.

Recently, after a discussion about a major decision regarding our parish, a wonderful gentleman who does many things behind the scenes said that he considers himself a steward, that our responsibility is not just for ourselves but also for future generations. That’s what being part of and building up a community is about. It’s something you do not just for yourself, but also contributing to what will be there in 5, 10, 50 years down the road. In Orthodoxy, we take the long view. Let’s give of ourselves so that others may also benefit.

Additional reading:

Communities vs Networks: To Which Do You Belong on Art of Manliness

The First Step by Abbot Tryphon

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Friday linkage

What does love look like? [Wonder]

Eight vows to make to yourself before marriage [Verily]

Men & Dating: Why the Pick-Up Scene Gets it Wrong [Art of Manliness]

Barbara Pym and the new spinster [New Yorker]

It’s OK to not want kids, but not OK to hate them. [Verily]


Memory eternal, Fr. Roman Braga.

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